Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the Scottish Labour party after its leader expressed “solidarity” with women who took industrial action after years of discrimination at the hands of a Labour run council.
The SNP leader took to twitter to vent her disgust at MSP Richard Leonard after he said the striking women had “the support and the solidarity of the Scottish Labour Party”.
Responding, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “While I wish the strike wasn’t happening, I have nothing but admiration for the women involved. However, I feel contempt for a Labour Party expressing solidarity now when, in power, they took these women to court to deny equal pay. @theSNP and @SusaninLangside are working to fix.”
The First Minister’s tweet was a reference to the actions of the Labour party when it ran Scotland’s largest local authority. Having introduced the pay structure that discriminated against women, the Labour administration at Glasgow council then spent millions of pounds in legal fees as it sought to block compensation claims.
Last year’s local authority elections saw Labour lose control of the council to the SNP. The new administration sought to resolve the dispute and brought an end to the court action instigated by Labour. However the ten years of Labour stalling led to frustration that boiled over and resulted in strike action.
The strike prompted several Labour and trade union figures to express support with the striking women on social media. Several tweets attacked the current SNP administration.
In one tweet, Labour MP Paul Sweeney attempted to lay blame with the SNP led Scottish government
Sweeney said: “The only way that the #EqualPayGlasgow dispute will be resolved is if a settlement is financed by the Scottish Government, unless you are happy to bankrupt Glasgow City Council. Despite having the power to do so you have steadfastly ignored the matter. Pay up for Glasgow’s women.”
Lawyer and trade union member Mike Dailly responded: “Wow. What a brass neck. Half a century of Scottish Labour in Glasgow. Denying women equal pay. Taking them to court and then appealing, and appealing. Never paying. Never saying sorry. No apologies. And then this … #shameless”
Equality lawyer Carol Fox tweeted: “Utterly despair at the staggering hypocrisy of so many today. My determined lobbying of Labour party at all levels ignored for years. Support women fighting for justice and hope all cases resolved soon. In time full story will be told.”
However Sweeney’s attack paled in comparison with that of fellow Labour MP Hugh Gaffney who appeared on SKY News. Gaffney, who is also a councillor, failed to identify himself as a Labour MP before launching an attack on the SNP.
Gaffney’s attempt to blame the SNP whilst failing to disclose he was a Labour MP prompted derision on social media.
One twitter user didn’t hold back: “Journo asks “have Labour let you down”, to a fucking Labour MP.”
Another tweeted: “@HughGaffneyMP has an absolute cheek trying to blame the SNP for this. They entered negotiations with the unions. This whole situation was perpetrated by the @scottishlabour party and people like @FrankMcAveety who spent millions fighting the equal pay claims.”
It also emerged that Gaffney is a councillor in North Lanarkshire which has similar equal pay issues to that experienced by women employees in Glasgow. This year it emerged the council had missed a deadline to honour a pension promise made to female employees.
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